The church during the Middle Ages - History

The church during the Middle Ages - History

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As the Roman Empire disentegrated the church played a central role in the emergeant civilization of Europe. The church soon developed an organizational structure to accomodate its expansion. Each major city had bishop . The bishops of a Roman provice were clustered under an archibishop.
The bishop of Rome were considered the vicars of Chirsit on earth. While most recogonized the bishop of Rome as the preeminent leader, it was not until Gregory I known as Greogory Great assumed leadership of the papacy that papal supremacy in the Catholic church became fully accepted.

The church during the Middle Ages - History

Since the growth of the Eastern Church was greatly inhibited by the advances of the Moslems beginning in the Seventh Century, the most remarkable instances of church growth in the early Middle Ages (600-1500) took place in the West. Initially, Irish monks, noted for their scholarship and zeal, were the most energetic in missionary efforts. Though the Church in Ireland made some relatively small beginnings prior to the time of Patrick (389-461), it was he who promoted, spread, and implanted the Church throughout Ireland so as to earn the epithet, "Apostle of Ireland." The Church was so firmly rooted in Ireland that when the Church in England collapsed with the fall of the Roman Empire and under the weight of Anglo-Saxon invasions, the Church in Ireland survived, flourished, and developed its own brand of religion in its isolation. Consequently, it was left to spirited Irish monks to plant the Church once again in the British Islands and the Continent - first in Scotland, then England, and in portions of the Frankish and Germanic kingdoms.

These Irish monks are credited with having introduced the practice of "private lay confession." This involved the laity confessing their sins to the clergy. Later, this type of confession would become mandatory and certain benefits would be attached to it. Of course, the New Testament knows nothing of a clergy/laity distinction (I Pet. 2:9), much less that the latter should be required to confess to the former (I Tim. 2:5). Instead, confession of sin was to be made "to one another" (Jas. 5:16) under the appropriate conditions (Matt. 5:23,24 18:15 Lk. 17:3,4).

The first extensive "penitential books" were also developed in Ireland. Such books prescribed what had to be done by the sinner in order that he might provide satisfaction for his sins. The belief arose that, not only eternal punishment, but also "temporal punishment" was due for sins. God's forgiveness would remove the former but not the latter. Unless "satisfaction" were made for this temporal punishment, the soul would go to purgatory. Satisfaction might be made by prayer, church attendance, fasting, pilgrimage, almsgiving, or other good works. However, the New Testament teaches that when God forgives He forgives completely (Heb. 8:12) He punishes no more. It may be necessary to make amends to men for harm done to them in sin, but no making of amends needs to be made to God.

Through the efforts of missionaries sent by Pope Gregory in 596-7 the seeds of Romanism were planted in England. Because the Irish and Romanists had developed different religious forms there were clashes between them, but with the aid of political authorities the Romanists finally won the British Islands, which then became one of the staunchest supporters of Roman Catholicism in Europe.

II. Alliance of Church and Civil Power

The story of the growth of the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages is one of increasing dependence upon, and then assumption of, civil power. Church and state were regarded as mutually supportive and interdependent, each directly promoting the cause of the other. Civil rulers became involved in Church affairs and Church leaders in civil affairs until the nations of Western Europe became, for all practical purposes, one, vast theocratic state. Roman Catholic popes eventually became the most powerful rulers in Europe. Never has the Roman Catholic Church been more powerful than it became during the Middle Ages.

Though the emperors of the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire had survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476), they were nevertheless isolated from Italy by the barbarian invasions and offered Rome no effectual support. Indeed, though Rome was nominally subject to Constantinople, they developed separate political existences, and the former fairly viewed the latter as a threat to its independence. Consequently, the Roman Catholic Church continued to groom the Frankish kings as its supporters and protectors. Of course, the Frankish kings also profited greatly from this relationship. When the Lombards captured parts of Italy and threatened Rome in 751, Pepin the Short of the Franks forced them to relinquish their conquests and withdraw because the Pope had crowned and anointed him king. These actions had far-reaching consequences, (1) A precedent was set for the official recognition and installment of civil rulers by the popes. (2) The popes became actual political leaders and territorial rulers. (Pepin had given conquered territories in Italy into the possession of the popes - whence the "States of the Church.")

These close ties between church and state were only strengthened during the reign of Pepin's far more famous son, Charlemagne (768-814). The Church continued to give support to the authority of the civil rulers and the civil rulers even took it upon themselves to enforce the decrees of the Church leaders - including the payment of tithes. Though not wholly to his liking (and somewhat to his surprise), Charlemagne was crowned emperor in Rome by Pope Leo III in 800. The idea was thus left that the emperorship was the gift of the papacy to bestow. As the Frankish empire began to decline following the death of Charlemagne, the power and independence of the popes only increased. Their reach extended far beyond anything given to God's servants in the New Testament (Matt. 22:21 Jn. 6:15 18:36 Lk. 17:20,21 II Cor. 10:3,4 Eph. 6:12 II Tim. 2:4).

III. Exercises (Please click on "File" on your browser window, then "Print" to print out this page.)

(1) In the Middle Ages the scene of greatest church growth, led by ______ ______was in the _________________.

(2) The British Islands eventually fell under the control of the __________________.

(3) The "___________________" prescribed what one had to do to make "satisfaction for sins.

(4) What is "private lay confession," and what is wrong with it?

(5) What is wrong with the idea of making "satisfaction" for sins?

(6) What was the relationship between the Church and the state in the Middle Ages?

What was wrong with it from a Scriptural viewpoint?

(7) How did Pepin and the popes benefit from their relationship? What precedents were set?

What impact did Charlemagne have on church history?

The name Charlemagne is Latin for “Charles the Great,” who was king of the Franks from 771 to 814. He is considered one of the most powerful and dynamic kings in history, and he had a profound impact on European culture and on the Catholic Church. Charlemagne was crowned “Emperor of the Romans” by the Pope in the year 800. Despite the fact that the title was already held by another man, Charlemagne was considered the first Holy Roman Emperor, due to the Pope’s decree and support. The coronation of Charlemagne changed the course of history, and there were many other changes effected by Charlemagne, or Charles the Great.

Charlemagne was an idealist, driven by deep convictions and beliefs. He was impacted by the societal theories proposed in Augustine’s City of God and worked hard to unite church and state. His concern for education and the preservation of culture led to a series of drastic reforms that we know today as the Carolingian Renaissance. Charlemagne built up a library, employing monks to preserve many ancient texts, and he created a school for his own many children, compelling his nobles’ children to attend as well.

Charlemagne also proposed reforms in the church, made changes to the liturgy, and raised standards and requirements for monasteries and monks. His desire was to strengthen the church with his rule, both by inner reform and by expansion. He sent his armies to conquer other lands and forced the conversion of conquered people at sword-point. Forced conversion is a practice modern opinion sees as reprehensible, and rightly so. Any time church and state are combined, needless tragedy and persecution occurs, and Charlemagne was quite successful in combining church and state as a result of his actions, the Holy Roman Empire held sway over millions of people during the Middle Ages. Not until the Protestant Reformation was the totalitarian power of the church finally broken.

There are several things we can learn from the life of Charlemagne. His will to act on principle and his strength as a leader are admirable. Because of him, both the church and European culture began to move in a new direction. He gave the commanders of his armies tracts of land that they and their soldiers lived and worked on&mdasha system that later led to the feudal system and serfdom in Europe. In addition, his policy of growing the church with military force set a precedent for later religious wars, including the Crusades. Whether or not we agree with his decisions, Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, was influential, and he is an example of how one man can change history. And we know that the rise and fall of human kings is under God’s sovereign rule and according to the times and seasons that He lays out for humanity (see Daniel 2:21).

How was the gospel preserved during the Middle Ages?

Throughout the centuries, God has preserved His Word and has raised up men and women for the task. Even during the Middle Ages, sometimes called the “Dark Ages” because of a perceived lack of knowledge during that time, the truth of the gospel was available. It is true that the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire were at the height of their power and a common-language Bible was being suppressed however, even then, God’s people were active. God’s hand is never “shortened that it cannot save” (Isaiah 59:1). His truth was marching on.

The Church had already survived much persecution under various Roman Emperors, including the Great Persecution under Diocletian between AD 303 and 313. Constantine put an end to the persecution after he became Emperor, and Christianity was eventually made the state religion of Rome.

As Rome began consolidating its power over the Church, there were dissenters who refused to acknowledge the bishop of Rome as their head. One such dissenter was the North African Bishop Donatus, who stood against Rome’s understanding of the sacraments and infant baptism. The Donatists were condemned by the churches in Europe, but they continued to be a light for the gospel of grace in the days of Constantine. Other men who fought for truth against early heresies were Bishops Alexander and Athanasius. Later, the gospel began to be preached as far away as Ireland (from AD 432) by Patrick. The Bible was also translated into Latin, and the gospel spread throughout Europe.

The Middle Ages, which lasted from about the 5th to the 15th century, was dominated in Europe by the Holy Roman Empire. This was the time of the Crusades, the Great Schism, the Inquisition, and the iron rule of the Roman Catholic Church. Throughout this difficult time, God still had witnesses to the truth.

When infant baptism was introduced by the Church of Rome, various churches dissented and denounced the practice. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the Petrobrusians rejected infant baptism. They became known as Anabaptists. They re-baptised believers who had been baptized as infants, maintaining that baptism is only valid if it was a conscious act of faith by the believer. The Anabaptists survived intense persecution and still exist today. From the Anabaptists the English Baptists came to prominence in the mid-1600s.

A group called the Waldensians was started in 1170 in Lyons, France, by a wealthy man named Valdes (Peter Waldo). He valued poverty as the basis for Christian life and the necessity for all Christians to preach the gospel. The Waldensians continued to expand but became increasingly estranged from the Roman Church over their doctrine, and in 1184 a papal bull was issued against them. Other reform groups existing before the Protestant Reformation were the Novatians, the Albigenses, the Petrobrussians, the Paulicians, the Cathari, the Paterines, the Lollards, and more.

Long before Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg in 1517, there were men who had stood up for reform and the true gospel. Among them were John Wycliffe, an English theologian and Oxford professor who was condemned as a heretic in 1415 for teaching that the common people should have access to the Bible Jan Hus, a priest from Bohemia who was burned at the stake in 1415 for his opposition to the Church of Rome and Girolamo Savonarola, an Italian friar who was hanged and burned in 1498.

During the 16th century, other godly men stood in opposition to the Church of Rome&mdashJakob Hutter (founder of the Hutterites), John Knox of Scotland, William Tyndale (martyred for translating the New Testament into English), John Calvin of France, Ulrich Zwingli of Switzerland, and the English reformers Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley (all burned at the stake).

God has had a faithful remnant in every age. In the time before the Flood, Noah found grace in God’s eyes. During the time of the judges, there were still faithful men like Gideon, Barak, and Boaz and faithful women like Hannah, Deborah, and Ruth. During the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, there were seven thousand people who stood firm against Baal worship (1 Kings 19:18). Just as God raised up faithful men and women in biblical times in the outworking of His divine plan, so He raised up faithful men and women during the Middle Ages. They were all sinners, flawed and imperfect characters, but God took what was weak and imperfect and turned them to His glory. Those faithful Christians were used by God “to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). In spite of all the conflicts, schisms, and bloodshed that accompanied the growth of the Church up to and beyond the Reformation, the gospel message has been preserved.

Respond to this Question


In the Middle Ages, who would have been considered a heretic by the Church?


Which option best describes how the printing press transformed European society? Prior to the printing press, the Church of England did not allow peasants to learn to read. Prior to the printing press, the Orthodox Church recited

Social studies

During the Middle Ages, _____ were sent by the church to convert ______ to Christianity. An important monk during the Middle Ages was _____, who established a monastery in central Italy and created rules for monastic life. The


Which describes how the emergence of capitalism changed society?a)Capitalism created economic opportunities for the middle-class and desire for profits without government interference. b)Capitalism created better working


Which option accurately describes Martin Luther’s influence on the Protestant church? A. Under Luther’s recommendation, Protestant clergy members were to be known as Imam, Sheik, or Mullah. B. Under Luther’s leadership,


Which option best describes why Puritans were motivated to migrate from England to the New World? Puritans who wanted to convert to Judaism could do so in the New World without persecution from English rulers. Puritans were


What is one reason that the Middle Ages are sometimes referred to as the "dark ages? for the fertile soil that supported agriculture *for the persecution suffered by certain Christian groups, as well as Jews and Muslims for the


Which option most accurately describes Oliver Cromwell’s rule of England? cromwell established the Anglican church and led an army of Presbyterians against Russian Catholics cromwell declared England a Catholic nation and

World History

Which accurately identifies the causes of the schism between the Roman Catholic and Protestant branches of Christianity? The Roman Catholic Church sought to add passages from the Dead Sea Scrolls into the Bible. The Roman Catholic

World history

How did the establishment of the Church of England change government? The Church of England did not collect taxes like the Roman Catholic Church. The English monarchy could conduct its own coronations. The head of state and the


Which option most accurately describes life events of Martin Luther? He was an important reformer in the Swiss Protestant Reformation, the only major movement that did not evolve into a church. As absolute ruler in England, he


Which accurately describe the theology of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages? (Select all that apply.) a. Catholics could rise to the kingdom of heaven by faithfully following the seven sacraments. b. The price of sin was

Brief History of the Catholic Church during the Roman Empire

The Roman Catholic Church, the largest denomination of Christians worldwide, has a glorious history as the church of Jesus Christ and the sole Christian Church in the West during the high and late Middle Ages (1054-1550 AD). Briefly explore early Christianity during the Roman Empire, the first in a series that documents the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Christian Church and Jesus Christ

Jewish rabbi Jesus of Nazareth (5 BC to 30 AD) is the founder of the Christian religion and the Christian Church. Jesus lived in Palestine during the rule of the Roman Empire, and his disciples struggled after his crucifixion to share Jesus’ message of new life, or resurrection, though belief in Jesus as God. Popular Catholic saints, such as St. Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mother of Christ, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, and St. Thomas, are key players in Jesus’ life and ministry.

Roman Empire Persecutes Jesus and Followers

The Roman Empire, urged by Jewish leaders, crucified Jesus of Nazareth as a common criminal in 30 AD. Jesus was the first of many early Christians to die a horrible death at the hands of the Roman state. The Roman Empire offered its subjects the latest in modern conveniences such as efficient transportation, running water, police protection, and exotic fruits from the tropics and treated them fairly as long as they worshipped the Roman Emperor as God.

Early Christians, just like Christians today, believed that worshipping other gods was a violation of their faith. Early saints in the Church, such as St. Peter, St. Thomas, St. Perpetua, and St. Agnes, refused to worship the emperor and suffered capital punishment as enemies of the state. The Coliseum, the massive amphitheater in Rome, saw the death of thousands of Christians during the persecutions of the Emperors Nero, Septimus Severus, Diocletian, and others.

First Monks in the Catholic Church

Many Christians fled to remote places to escape persecutions from Rome. Deserts and other remote areas far from cities offered save havens from Rome’s reach for many harassed Christians.

Later, Christians began to flee civilization deliberately to seek relationship with God. St. Anthony the Great (251-356) believed that isolation improved intimacy with God. This saint, according to legend, battled Satan in the deserts of Egypt and emerged victorious. His followers founded some of the first monastic communities in the Church.

Though St. Anthony, first of the Desert Fathers, was not the first Christian monk to seek retreat to the desert to seek God in a simple life free from sex and indulgent food, he began a movement within the Church. Anthony’s followers founded some of the first monastic communities away from society, and another saint, Benedict of Nursia, wrote the first rule for a Catholic religious community’s behavior (6th century AD).

Christianity Religion of Roman Empire

The Catholic Church’s relationship with the Church drastically changed thanks to Emperor Constantine the Great (227-304 AD). Constantine converted to Christianity after a vision of a cross at the head of his armies, according to his biographer Eusebius. The emperor began the tradition of building great churches as houses of worship, and his Church of the Holy Sepulcre still stands in Jerusalem.

Constantine declared freedom of religion for Christians in the Roman Empire, and soon Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the East and West (380 AD). Rapidly, Christianity changed from a persecuted religion with a substantial minority to the state majority religion of the Roman Empire.

Jesus Christ, founder of Christianity, died at the hands of the Roman Empire. Jesus’ Church suffered persecution from Rome, and Christian monks formed from groups fleeing Rome’s grasp in the desert. Yet Rome’s conversion to Christianity changed the history of the Roman Catholic Church and opened the door for Europe’s conversion to Christianity during the early Middle Ages.

For more on Catholic Church history, Part 2: Brief Guide to Catholic History During the Middle Ages may be of interest.

No 36. The Six Men of Penn

W e saw in the previous article that all the inhabitants of Morebath in Devon, a parish remarkably similar to Penn, were directly and actively involved in the life of the church. The head of every household, rich or poor, male or female, served for a year as one of the two churchwardens, with the rota travelling methodically around the parish. In anyone year, twelve parishioners held office of some kind, including women and teenagers. Sheep were the basis of the economy and two thirds or more of the households looked after at least one of the church sheep, a parochial obligation that if refused, and it seldom was, resulted in a fine of 3d or 4d. One family looked after the church bees. It was an unexpectedly democratic society. Decisions were reached by consensus rather than by majority and great efforts were made to overcome objections even by the poorer parishioners.

We can reasonably assume that it was much the same in Penn, where the evidence, although much sparser, nonetheless invariably confirms the same picture.

For instance:
The importance of sheep in Penn, is confirmed by wills . Thomas Alday’s only bequests in 1505 were one sheep to each of his five older children, with a lamb to his youngest daughter. William Grove, in 1513, bequeathed ‘ unto the rode Iyght of Penne 1 shepe ‘, ‘ to the trinite 1 shepe ‘. Nicholas Asshwell left no sheep to the church but two sheep and a bullock were his only bequests to both his son and daughter, and he left a sheep to three other beneficiaries.

A swarm of bees was bequeathed by Thomas Alday for the sepulchre light of Penn in 1505.

Penn also had two churchwardens, who were named, in 1520, as John Grove and Roger Playter. The 1522 Muster Return shows that Roger Playter held no land at that time and John Grove only a modest holding. This fits the Morebath model as does the reasonably close neighbourly placing of the two men on the 1524 and 1546 tax returns.

The most important parishioners in Morebath were a small group of the more senior and most prosperous, who were elected for as long as they were willing to serve, to act, in effect, as bankers for the parish. They were separate from the two churchwardens and held any surplus money from the church stores and provided financial continuity and stability. They met extraordinary demands for money imposed by the manorial or Hundred Courts, setting parish tax levies afterwards to recoup their outlay. The number varied from three to six, and they are referred to in the records accordingly as the ‘Three Men’ , ‘Four Men’ etc. Together with the Vicar and occasionally under the chairmanship of the Lord of the Manor or his Steward, they helped resolve parish disputes. They also appeared at Visitations by the Bishop or by royal Commissioners.

They became even more important after the radical Protestant reforms, following Edward VI’s accession in 1547, removed the whole basis of the parish’s traditional methods of raising and administering money for the church. The Six Men took over the effective financial management of the parish. We catch a glimpse of a similar Six Men system in Penn in the pivotal moment of the inventory and sale of the remaining Catholic church goods, which was drawn up in 1552. The inventory notes that ‘ there is solde by the consentes of Richard Bovington, John Grove, John Bovington, John Balam, Thomas Robertes, Richard Wright and the churche wardens

Contemporary tax returns and wills show that the first four named were the most prosperous in the parish after the gentry families of the Pennes and Puttenhams and Ugnalls, who were not apparently required to take on these parish responsibilities. The Groves of Stonehouse and the Bovingtons of Glory Farm continued to be prominent in the parish for centuries afterwards. Thomas Robertes was also prosperous and Richard Wright was described as a yeoman in his will of 1556.

Miles Green August – September 2005

No 10: Tithes, Taxes, Chalcombe Priory

It is very rare to know who built a new church, as we do for High Wycombe. In William of Malmesbury’s almost contemporary biography of Wulfstan, the last surviving Anglo-Saxon bishop who died in 1095, he records Wulfstan’s visit to consecrate a new church at Wycombe, built at his own expense by a certain Swertlin, ‘ blessed with great riches ‘.

Because Swertlin had provided the money and land needed to build the church and provide an income for the priest, he was its proprietor. He owned it as a property and could do what he liked with it.

He received the tithes or tenth part of the output of every family and could decide how much he would give the priest. If he appointed a rector then all the tithes would go to the rector, whereas a vicar (vicarius or substitute) would get only the lesser tithes on farming produce such as milk, cheese, vegetables, fish, wild fowl, eggs and locally made goods, all of which were much more difficult to assess and naturally led to endless disputes. The proprietor would then keep the great tithes paid in corn and hay and so relatively easy to assess and collect. Penn had rectors in the late Middle Ages but has had vicars since. In either case the priest could be assigned some land to farm to provide his basic livelihood.

In 1372, we see Segrave Manor paying the tithe of a lamb, a gosling, and a share of the proceeds of a sale of wool fleeces.

A church was thus a valuable property and was bought and sold as such. Indeed King Ethelred felt obliged to introduce a law code in c.1008 to forbid ‘men trading in churches as with mills’.

In 1291, a tax imposed by Pope Nicholas was based on the assessed value of each church. Penn was valued at £13. 6. 8d and Taplow at exactly half this. Amersham stood out at £40 and may have been a ‘mother’ church to its immediate area at some stage. There is a record of medieval Whitsuntide processions from Chesham to Amersham which suggests a superior status for Amersham.

The advowson or patronage, the right to appoint the priest, could be, and often was, held separately from the ownership of the church and lands. Disputes about both were frequent and legal arguments sometimes dragged on over centuries. Soon after 1231, the Turville overlords gave the advowson of Penn to Chalcombe Priory in Northamptonshire but in 1240 the Prior of Merton in Surrey was claiming in the King’s Court that he was being unjustly prevented by Chalcombe and the Turvilles from appointing a suitable person to ‘the church of Taplow with its Chapel of La Penne’, Merton won that round but Missenden Abbey successfully entered the field and one of the de la Penne family was appointed vicar of Penn by the Abbot in 1274.

Chalcombe Priory had apparently regained the advowson by 1302 when the Prior appointed a new rector, but not the proprietorship despite obtaining a royal licence in 1326 a royal charter from the new king (Edward III) in 1328. It was not until the Prior appealed over the Bishop’s head to Rome, in 1344, that Chalcombe was finally confirmed as proprietor and appointed the rector for the next two centuries until the dissolution of the priory in 1539

The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the Catholic faith competed with Arianism for the conversion of the barbarian tribes. The 496 conversion of Clovis I, pagan king of the Franks, saw the beginning of a steady rise of the Catholic faith in the West.

Saint Remigius baptizes Clovis

In 530, Saint Benedict wrote his Rule of Saint Benedict as a practical guide for monastic community life, and its message spread to monasteries throughout Europe. Monasteries became major conduits of civilization, preserving craft and artistic skills while maintaining intellectual culture within their schools, scriptoria, and libraries. They functioned as centers for spiritual life as well as for agriculture, economy, and production.

During this period the Visigoths and Lombards moved away from Arianism toward Catholicism. Pope Gregory the Great played a notable role in these conversions and dramatically reformed the ecclesiastical structures and administration, which then launched renewed missionary efforts. Missionaries such as Augustine of Canterbury, who was sent from Rome to begin the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, and, coming the other way in the Hiberno-Scottish mission, Saints Colombanus, Boniface, Willibrord, and Ansgar, among many others, took Christianity into northern Europe and spread Catholicism among the Germanic and Slavic peoples. Such missions reached the Vikings and other Scandinavians in later centuries. The Synod of Whitby of 664, though not as decisive as sometimes claimed, was an important moment in the reintegration of the Celtic Church of the British Isles into the Roman hierarchy, after having been effectively cut off from contact with Rome by the pagan invaders.

In the early 8th century, Byzantine iconoclasm became a major source of conflict between the eastern and western parts of the church. Byzantine emperors forbade the creation and veneration of religious images as violations of the Ten Commandments. Sometime between 726 and 730 the Byzantine Emperor Leo III the Isaurian ordered that an image of Jesus prominently placed over the Chalke gate, the ceremonial entrance to the Great Palace of Constantinople, be removed, and replaced with a cross. This was followed by orders banning the pictorial representation of the family of Christ, subsequent Christian saints, and biblical scenes. Other major religions in the East, such as Judaism and Islam, had similar prohibitions, but Pope Gregory III vehemently disagreed. Empress Irene, siding with the pope, called for an Ecumenical Council. In 787, the fathers of the Second Council of Nicaea “warmly received the papal delegates and his message.” At the conclusion, 300 bishops, who were led by the representatives of Pope Hadrian I “adopted the Pope’s teaching,” in favor of icons.

The Roman Catholic Church In Western Europe In The Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, many parts of Western Europe were falling, but the Roman Catholic Church had risen up from the darkness and influenced almost all of Western Europe. In this period of time, the Church had so much religious, political and economic power. The Church would start by “forcing” the people of Western Europe to believe and participate in Church life by giving them an opportunity to an everlasting afterlife. Then, from those who came, the Church gained wealth from donations and other reasons such as taxes and services. Finally, the Church had political power and they showed that by excommunicating the ones with many authorities. This would ban them from participating in any of the Church’s events and it would ban them from going into heaven.

These people in poverty have never heard of anything as good as everlasting life, after death, and this comforted the hopeless people. The Church gave everyone the opportunity to get to the promised land after life. One of the reasons everybody wanted this afterlife was because the class didn’t matter. From poor and bankrupt to kings and nobles, they were all treated in the same way in Heaven no matter how different you were from others. Sacraments were one of many “necessary tasks” to follow that all Christians needed to complete in able to get to Heaven. However, the Church “forced” the society to go to Church, by revealing that there is a punishment if you do not attend in church: going to Hell instead of.

Watch the video: The Medieval Church